Everyone knows you're entitled to have a free lawyer appointed for you in a criminal case from hearing TV show police officers read people their rights. But what about family law cases? Are you entitled to a lawyer in a divorce?
The 6th Amendment Only Applies to Criminal Cases
Lawyers are appointed for free in criminal cases to protect the 6th Amendment right to an attorney. However, this interpretation of the 6th Amendment only applies to criminal court.
Because of this, you are not entitled to a free lawyer to help you with a divorce.
You Are Entitled to Bring a Lawyer
You are always entitled to bring a lawyer. Even if a judge or some other person tries to pressure you into skipping a lawyer to make things go faster, you can insist that you want to have a lawyer.
If you decide to use a lawyer, there are a few things you must do. First, you must hire the lawyer in time for them to appear in court.
Judges are reluctant to give extensions unless the notice you were given was so short that you truly didn't have time to find a lawyer. You also need to choose a reliable lawyer who will appear at every court date. If they don't show up, you may be forced to proceed on your own.
Of course, you'll also need to pay your lawyer on time to keep them working for you.
You Can Pick Any Lawyer You Want
You can't be required to pick from a small list of lawyers. You can hire anyone who is licensed to practice law in the court that is handling your divorce.
There are only a few exceptions to this rule. For example, you can't hire a lawyer who used to work for your spouse because that's a conflict of interest.
You Can't Be Unfairly Denied a Lawyer
Your spouse can't take unfair steps to prevent you from hiring a lawyer. For example, they can't call every single divorce lawyer in town to try to create a conflict of interest that keeps those lawyers from working with you.
They also can't block your access to the bank account or do things like threatening to withhold visitation. If they do, most judges will be very unhappy and be more likely to issue rulings in your favor.
To learn more about how to get a lawyer for your divorce, contact a local law office like Knollmeyer Law Office today.